Some days being a business owner can totally test my sanity. You know, the days when the same client calls eight times because he can’t find something, or contractors are pushing deadlines way too close. It’s on these days that sanity saving shortcuts are a necessity.
You may think that shortcuts are cheating or the wrong way to do things – I disagree, depending on the situation. For example, the following are BAD ways to use shortcuts:
Turning up the heat: If you enjoy cooking or baking you know that turning up the temperature to cook something faster doesn’t always produce edible results. I’ve burnt more than a couple servings of scrambled eggs by using a higher temperature in order to get breakfast on the table faster.
Cliff Notes: Another example of a non-optimal shortcut is Cliff Notes. I tried Cliff Notes in place of reading the assigned book exactly ONCE in high school. That one time had disastrous results when it came time for the end-of-book test because I had missed out on all the nuances of the novel.
Small business owners need sanity saving shortcuts to make their business run smoother. Here are examples of GOOD shortcuts:
Standard Contract/Proposal: I have standard contract and proposal documents set up and ready to go. When I’m invited to submit a proposal for a project I copy and paste my standard text, and then spend only minimal time customizing the text for the specific project.
The same goes for my client and contractor agreements. When I’m hired as a consultant or hire a contractor, I need only edit a minimum number of details before the agreement is ready to go!
Sutton Creative Studios uses Podio to manage both our internal and external work. For our internal, or “Team Awesome” work, we broke down our workspace into individual projects. The projects each have their own task lists, calendars and project boards, and are accessible by invited team members. No matter what project a task is assigned to, however, I can always refer to my master To-Do list to see what tasks I have coming due.
An especially great feature of Podio is that you can link a project or workspace or specific Google docs, which ensures any team member will be working with the most updated version of a file.
Google Docs: As just mentioned, Google Docs are a source for a few more sanity saving shortcuts. We use Google spreadsheets to track our social media, I use it to track my time spent on projects (in conjunction with Freshbooks) and we also use Google Docs to keep all our latest intake forms in one place.
Freshbooks: Freshbooks is a great accounting/bookkeeping software that we actually switched over to from Quickbooks. Each of our clients has been set up in the system, and our whole team uses it to track time spent on a project. In addition, we are able to send invoices to our clients, track business expenses, and track the amount of time our contractors are spending on projects.
Are you looking for sanity saving shortcuts for your business? Sutton Creative Studios’ Virtual Assistance team is always happy to help our clients establish more efficient ways of running their business. Contact us today to discuss your business’ needs!
Kim Sutton is the Managing Partner and Chief Everything Officer of The Sutton Companies, including Sutton Strategic Solutions and Sutton Creative Studios. She is a graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Architecture.
An avid reader and passionate learner, Kim is constantly researching, studying and developing business improvement strategies. When it comes to client work, Kim especially enjoys helping her clients develop innovative marketing strategies and sales funnels, particularly when they are using Infusionsoft to automate all the heavy lifting. To find out how you can further develop your company’s marketing and automation strategies schedule a 1-hour Business Boost Strategy Session by clicking here.
In her free-time, Kim cherishes the time she gets to spend with her husband, Dave (her business partner), and five children. She also enjoys reading, knitting, writing and playing video games.
Get a copy of Kim’s FREE guide, “10 Top Tools for Small Businesses” by clicking here.